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Director's Chat. November 2020

My name is Chuck Kessell and I direct the Normennenes Singing Society for some 16 seasons now (If you can so far call this a season! Drat you Covid 19!). In case you didn't guess by the rather extensive history on this website, our chorus is now 150 years old. There are a few choruses or in fact musical groups in the U.S.A. that can claim such a tenure. The Chicago Symphony is not that old, nor is the Apollo Chorus. I believe none of the Universities in Chicago with Music Schools are that old! We are in a unique spot.

Interestingly enough, Normennenes belongs to a National Organization of Norwegian Male Choruses known as the Norwegian Singers Association of America, and they've been around more than a hundred years themselves. So What's with this whole Norwegian Musical thing anyway?

I'd like to say it's Norwegian exclusively, but it is much bigger than that. The Scandinavians (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finns), The Baltics (Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian) The Russian peoples, and the Folks of Great Britain, with some heavy concentrations of choirs in Wales, Ireland and Scotland all have deep roots in singing collectively. That can be said about most peoples to some extent but our histories and travels and commerce and cultures are intertwined with music.

Even with Covid 19 and our need to be distanced one from another we've taken some opportunities to stay connected virtually. In a little while we will present some of our choral music on-line, done with the magic of the internet. Keep your eyes open for this to happen.

Just some factoids about Normennenes and working through hard times. October 30, 1870 Normennenes gathered as a chorus, and on October 7, 1871 Chicago Burned! It didn't stop the chorus from singing. WWI began and those not in the armed services kept our traditions alive. Then the Spanish Flu took Europe and America by storm in 1917-18 Normennenes kept going. Ever since through thick and thin, Normennenes has continued on.

Though we are in a second 'surge' of the virus, we are planning ahead to have fun and expand ourselves a bit. I'd like to invite men of any age to consider joining us. Yes I said joining us. Get in on the virtual singing! Get a hold of me or Frank Potempa our President and we'll show you how to start with us virtually! When we start back live and in person, you will be ahead of the game and already singing some of our music. How cool is that!

If you are interested in Joining Normennenes and/or have questions, please feel free to get a hold of me through the website, or my e-mail or call me at my cell 773-858-5325.

In these trying times, I am reminded often that we have so much to be thankful for. We miss those gone from us but are glad we had some significant times with them and are blessed to have others we love among us.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends and my brothers.

Tusen Tak!

Lev Sangen!
Chuck Kessell

(Oh BTW…: Once in a while I'll throw in some Norwegian phrases just for fun)